Florida: Focus on the Economy not Local Issues

Floridians currently face an array of serious matters that require urgent attention.  The state is carrying a $3.6 billion deficit.  It has an 11.1 percent unemployment rate. So why do some people think that state legislators should be spending time on the locality-specific matter of red light cameras instead of measures aimed at closing the budget gap and getting the jobless back to work– especially when Florida is counting down the hours to the end of its scheduled legislative session?

The Florida Senate already made the decision to devote valuable legislative time this year to the matter of tree frogs.  Now, a handful of hard-line ideologues are asking them to spend the little time remaining to debating the ability of localities to use technology that has been shown to reduce by 24 percent the number of fatal red light running crashes– technology that, as such, helps keep Florida’s public health bill to a minimum, and its law enforcement costs lower than they otherwise would be.  In a time of ongoing economic hardship, that matters.  So does passing a budget right now that brings spending under control, reduces taxes, and promotes job creation.  So does letting local matters be settled locally, rather than clogging up valuable state legislative time.

Some people don’t like getting ticketed for running red lights.  But those people should not be holding up important legislative business or blocking an appropriate level of consideration from being given to components of the budget, when they could avoid their basic problem by simply changing their behavior when they get behind the wheel.

Florida prides itself on finishing its business on time, and in a thoughtful manner.  Legislators should pass the budget and leave wrangling over local matters to local officials and citizens.